Obituary

"Shrimp" Leveson Gower

LEVESON GOWER, SIR HENRY DUDLEY GRESHAM, who died in London on February 1, aged 80, was associated with M.C.C., Surrey and Scarborough Festival cricket for over fifty years. Known wherever cricket is played as "Shrimp," a nickname given him, presumably because of his slight physique, during his schooldays, he was born at Limpsfield, Surrey, on May 8, 1873, the seventh of twelve sons of Mr. G. W. G. Leveson Gower.

At Winchester, where he was one of three brothers to gain colours at cricket and where, according to him, he really learned the game, he was in the eleven for three years from 1890. In 1892 he led the school to their first victory -- by 84 runs -- at Eton since 1882. He and J. R. Mason, later famous with Kent, took chief honours in that success. Mason hit 147 and 71 and took eight wickets for 139; Leveson Gower made 16 and 83 and dismissed eight batsmen for 33 runs.

At Magdalen College, Oxford, he got his Blue as a Freshman in 1893 and figured in the team in the three following years, being captain in 1896 when E. B. Shine bowled three balls to the boundary in the University match in order to prevent Oxford from following on as, according to the Laws prevailing at the time, they would otherwise have been compelled to do. His highest innings against Cambridge was 73 in 1895, when he also took seven wickets for 84 runs. In that season, too, began the association with Surrey which continued till his death.

A skilful right-handed batsman and a keen field, usually at cover-point or mid-off, he hit his biggest innings for the county, 155 against his former University at Oxford, in 1899, and he captained Surrey from 1908 to 1910. Several times he appeared for Gentlemen against Players, and besides regularly getting together teams to meet the Universities at Eastbourne, he was responsible from 1899 till 1950 for the selection of the sides taking part in the Scarborough Festival. Recognition of his work in this direction came in 1950 when he was made a Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough.

Leveson Gower also had considerable experience of cricket outside England. He went to South Africa with M.C.C. teams in 1905-6 and 1909-10, being captain on the second occasion; visited the West Indies under Lord Hawke in 1896-97, and in the autumn of 1897 toured in America with the side captained by P. F. (now Sir Pelham) Warner. During the American trip some of the newspapers experienced difficulty over Leveson Gower's name, and he found himself referred to in print as "The Hyphenated Worry" and "The Man with the Sanguinary Name." Between 1928 and 1934, he also played with teams in Malta, Gibraltar and Portugal. Altogether in first-class cricket he scored 7,662 runs, average 22.88.

Aside from his playing ability, probably his best service to cricket, for which he was knighted in 1953, was rendered as a legislator and Test Selector. For many years a member of the Committee of the M.C.C. and Treasurer of Surrey from 1926 to 1928, he succeeded G. H. Longman as President of the County Club in 1929. In 1909 he became a member of the Test Team Selection Committee, of which he was chairman in 1924 and from 1928 to 1930. During the first Great War he served in the Army, attaining the rank of major and being mentioned in dispatches. He contributed articles to Wisden, in 1937 on "Recollections of Oxford Cricket," and in 1946 on "100 Years of Surrey Cricket" and also wrote a book, On and Off the Field.

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